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4 Men from Company F

The Escape and Evasion Reports (E&E) along with Morning Reports (MR) and Surgeon General Report (SGO) was the basis for this article for some of the men from Company (Co) F 508th Parachute Infantry 82nd Airborne Division.

The 508th was Drop Zone N was just north of Picauville, but most of Company F though came to earth between Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte and Etienville west of DZ N early in the morning of 0210 hours June 6, 1944.    

4 Company F men landed closer to Etienville than Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte.  Private First Class (Pfc) Terrence T. Nelson wrote the report for this E&E.  The first Co F man Pfc Nelson ran across was Private (Pvt) Joseph D. Comeau.  Pvt Comeau had been wounded shot in the right arm on the jump so Pfc Nelson dressed his wound and left him there in the care of a Medic.

Pfc Nelson then hooked up with a group of paratroopers who tried to take the 508th objective, Etienville.  That proved too much so they pulled back.  That is when Nelson ran into his Platoon Leader First Lieutenant (1st Lt) Hoyt T. Goodale.  His 1st Lt said they needed to find their own lines.  Thatís when they found General Gavin, the 82nd Abn Div Executive Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Maloney and Captain Creek both from the 507th.

Nelson and Pfc Glenn E. Kincaid found each other at some point on June 6th.  Kincaid was also part of Company F.  Both Nelson and Kincaid were and Outpost June 7th when the Germans started another attack.  Nelson and Kincaid tried to get back to their Command Post (CP).  The Germans were using small arms and shelling them when Kincaid was hit.  Nelson said that Kincaid told him he was dying.  Nelson had to leave Kincaid behind and when he checked on Kincaid he was unconscious. 

On the way back to the CP, Nelson ran into Pvt Joseph W. Oburn also from Company F.  Oburn told Nelson that the CP had pulled back so Nelson and Oburn went the same direction.  Coming across a road Nelson decided the two should hide in a hedgerow. 

As they tried to jump over the hedgerow they fell into a ditch filled with water.  For 8 hours they laid in the cold water in the ditch.  Finally Oburn said he couldnít take the cold and tried to crawl up to the hedgerow.  The Germans found him and Oburn was captured.  Nelson thought that the Germans had shot Oburn but that wasnít the case.  Oburn first went to Orglandes, the German POW Temporary Hospital.

The Germans captured Nelson on June 10 according to the E&E.  We have to take the days with a grain of salt as Nelson also said his Company Commander Flanders had been killed June 12 in a strafing.  The strafing part was correct but Captain Flanders was killed on June 7, not the June 12.   The First Sergeant mentioned as being killed was incorrect too as he was wounded and sent back to England.

So of the 4 men from Co F 508th listed in Nelsonís E&E account, 3 became POWs and one was killed in action.  Nelson escaped, Comeau was liberated from the German Cherbourg Hospital, Oburn became a POW for the rest of the war and Kincaid was killed on June 7.

The E&E Reports have a wealth of information at times.  This was one of those times.  I had searched for a Co E 507th soldier and came across this E&E.  The reason I found this?  In the E&E they list anyoneís name if they are in the report.  In this case not just one Company E 507th soldier mentioned but 2, Lieutenant Smith and Private Kotzian. 

There is on more interesting thing in Nelsonís E&E narrative.  At Alencon, a German POW Camp a POW American soldier was made the Mess Sergeant by the Germans.  The soldierís name was Monk and he had drawn (by hand) Staff Sergeant Stripes on his jacket.  In reality Monk was a Private in Company B of the 505th Parachute Infantry. 

In the narrative by Nelson he speaks about Monk and how Monk would not give rations to the POW Soldiers if they didnít show up at 0530 every morning.  Monk also took bribes, receiving cigarettes so a soldier could get more rations.  Monk also threatened to turn the American POWs in to the Germans if he complained about the bribery.      

Monk worked with the Germans and took bribes from his own men, calling himself a Staff Sergeant.  It just goes to show that scum came in all shapes and sizes, even as a POW in WWII.

Brian Siddall

February 16, 2021

 


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